Tue | Aug 22, 2017

Islamic State militants claim deadly attack in Jakarta

Published:Friday | January 15, 2016 | 1:00 AM
People, including unarmed police officers, flee from the scene after a gun battle broke out following an explosion in Jakarta, Indonesia, yesterday.

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP):

The scene had echoes of the Paris attacks: A bustling shopping area shaken by the blasts of suicide bombers and gunfire as onlookers fled in terror.

But when yesterday's assault in central Jakarta was over, the death toll was far lower. Of the seven killed, five were the attackers themselves and only two were civilians a Canadian and an Indonesian. Another 20 people were wounded.

Still, authorities and analysts believe the violence that left the city of 10 million on edge for hours was a loud announcement of the Islamic State group's presence in the world's largest Muslim-majority nation.

Supporters of the Islamic State group circulated a claim of responsibility on social media resembling the militants' previous messages.

The attackers carried handguns, grenades and home-made bombs and struck a Starbucks cafe and a traffic police booth in the Indonesian capital's highest-profile attack in six years.

Authorities said they found a large, undetonated bomb and five smaller devices in a building near the cafe.

"So we think ... their plan was to attack people and follow it up with a larger explosion when more people gathered," said Major General Anton Charliyan, the spokesman of Indonesia's national police. "But thank God it didn't happen."

Jakarta police chief Major General Tito Karnavian said the attackers had links with IS and were part of a group led by Bahrum Naim, an Indonesian militant who is now in Syria.

"We have identified all attackers," Charliyan said. "We can say that the attackers were affiliated with the ISIS group," he added, using an acronym for the Islamic State group.